Watauga Lake Winery

Watauga Lake Winery

Wayne and Linda Gay
6952 Big Dry Run Rd.
Butler, TN 37640
Phone: (423)768-0345
E-mail: info@wataugalakewinery.com   



GPS Coordinates:

36.331983, -81.927166


Web Site:




 East Tennessee


Time Zone:




April thru December
Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sundays: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed January thru March



Owners, Wayne and Linda Gay, "retired" to Johnson County, TN, in 2002 after spending 22 years in the Italian import business. During this time, Linda and Wayne, grew to love the mountains and vineyard covered slopes of Italy. When they discovered East Tennessee, they immediately felt as if they had been transported to the Italian Alps. They purchased 35 acres overlooking Watauga Lake and began construction of "Villa Nove", an Italian inspired farmhouse.

In 2005, as Wayne likes to tell it, they decided to plant a few grapevines on the property as landscaping and it simply got out of hand!! The result is "Villa Nove Vineyards" which consists of over 4000 wine grape vines. Today the vineyard hosts weddings and events in a tuscan-themed pavilion.Wayne and Linda, who had purchased the historic Johnson County Big Dry Run Schoolhouse began renovations and the winery permitting process in 2010. Watauga Lake Winery opened to the public in November, 2012. Their mission is to grow quality fruit, make exceptional wine from local fruit, and develop a venue where customers can enjoy "la doce vita" - the good life.

Watauga Lake Winery produces wine for every palate – red and white -dry to sweet dessert and port wines. Watauga Lake Winery was honored in 2015 to be the recipient of the “William O. Beach Award” – Best Tennessee Fruit Wine.

Visit the winery, sitting on the corner of the famous “Copperhead Road” and taste the wines produced from the fruit of the “Appalachian High Country” American Viticulture Area. Enjoy our outdoor deck or event room and tour the “haunted” historical schoolhouse!




Big Dry Run Red: The small stream across the road from the winery is named Big Dry Run . Our Big Dry Run Red is a dry, bold, fruity wine and contrary to its name sake, we hope your glass never runs dry! This wine pairs well with beef, lamb or wild game.

Copperhead Hollow Red: Bordering the east side of the winery property is Copperhead Hollow Road. Many believe that this road was the inspiration for the 1970's song by Steve Earl. The name is so popular that the county gave up Copperhead Hollow road signs because they kept disappearing in the middle of the night! Of course, the copperhead gets a bad rap, but we think you will find ours a little easier to make friends with. A blend of our Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Chancellor this wine can actually be quite cozy.

Cracker's Neck Red: Named for one of the more "storied" areas of Johnson County, Cracker's Neck is a sweet fruit-filled, country style red. A great wine to enjoy with a summer salad, pork or pasta.

Doe Mountain Red:  Doe Mountain sits in the heart of Johnson County and comprises some 8600 acres at an elevation of 3816 feet. Our Doe Mountain Red is a big wine named after this big mountain! This is an intense full-bodied wine made from the Cynthiana grape. The Cynthiana is often called, "the Cabernet of the Ozarks". It is a great substitute for Cabernet Savignon. Concordance Gold winner (Wines of the South 2013)



Stone Mountain White: Stone Mountain runs north to south separating Johnson County, Tennessee from North Carolina. Our Stone Mountain White is made from our Chardonel grape, which is a clone of the Chardonnay grape developed by Cornell University. It is a crisp, fruity dry white wine with hints of citrus, oak and vanilla.

Elk River White: The Elk River flows into the south side of Watauga Lake from Avery County, NC. Our Elk River White is made from Seyval Blanc. It is a dry, fruity crisp wine which pairs well with poultry, fish and pork dishes.

Forge Mountain Mist: Forge Mountain occupies the eastern most corner of Johnson County bordering Ashe County, North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia. When we look east from the vineyard in the early morning, we see Forge Mountain peeking through the mist. Our Forge Mountain Mist is a blend of our Niagara and Traminette grape. With a fruity nose and undertones of peach and grapefruit, it makes a great companion for a light lunch or dinner.

Roan Creek White: As you travel west on Highway 167, (Roan Creek Road) from Mountain City you arrive at the stunning vista created by the expansive Roan Creek arm of the Watauga Lake. Our Roan Creek White is made from the Traminette grape and is just as expansive in its floral nose and a balanced acid finish.

Villa Nove White: Our personal vineyard is named after a small town in northern Italy where we enjoyed many years. Villa Nove Vineyard consists of 35 acres where we grow eight varieties of wine grapes, two varieties of table grapes, and blackberries. Villa Nove White is a sweet wine and a great compliment to fruit, cheese or a wonderful plate of pasta!

Watauga River White: The Watauga River is the primary source of Watauga Lake. The bridge just west of Pioneer Landing crosses the Watauga River channel. Our Watauga River White is a fruity, semi-sweet wine enjoyed with poultry, fish, pork or by itself.



Cold Springs Rose: Cold Springs is a "suburb" of Mountain City, TN, and as its name implies is known for its cold, natural springs. Just as refreshing is our Cold Springs Rose. A blend of Sangiovese Cold Springs Rose is great when paired with pasta, zesty pork, chicken or beef.

Iron Mountain Sunset: Iron Mountain forms the back-bone of Johnson County. It divides the county in half with the Appalachian Trail following the crest from Watauga Lake to Virginia. The mountain provides magnificent sunsets from the south side. Steubin, a red grape which is crushed and pressed as a white, then we add a blend of red for the sunset and this is our Iron Mountain Sunset. It is a very approachable blush and is great to behold at any time!

Laurel Creek Surprise: Laurel Creek follows Highway 91 as it winds out of Johnson County into Virginia. There are surprising views at every turn as you make your way through the beautiful timber and rock- lined valley. A wonderful fruity bouquet with hints of raspberry and chocolate are the surprise of our Laurel Creek. A wonderful finish to any meal.



We are near Johnson City, Tennessee, approximately 2.5 hours northeast of Knoxville.

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